As the Geneseo volleyball team’s season comes to a close, one name in particular might ring a bell in terms of SUNYAC stats.
Sophomore outside hitter Grace Cergol has been a key contributor in the Knights’ success this season. Not only does Cergol lead the team in kills (457), service aces (47) and total points (510), but she has also been named the SUNYAC Volleyball Athlete of the Week multiple times.
Cergol’s numbers may speak for themselves, but her history also gives answers to her success.
“I played soccer on a travel team up until 11th grade but I also played on a club volleyball team and my high school volleyball team,” Cergol said.
From East Northport, N.Y., Cergol showed a lot of potential as a multi-sport athlete, earning the attention of scouts from all across the northeast for volleyball. After all the pressure that comes along with college recruitment, Cergol finally settled on Geneseo on New Year’s Eve of 2015.
“I think this school is so beautiful and an amazing place to study,” Cergol said. “Its size fits really well for me.”
Athletes at Geneseo receive one academic credit for the time they put into their sport per season. Practice, games and traveling during the season however, certainly seem to be worth more than the single credit players are granted.
With the addition of schoolwork, finding time to do extracurricular activities can be difficult, especially for athletes, but Cergol has made the most out of the community she has.
“They are my best friends,” Cergol said of her teammates. “I have a whole club team back home of players who I’m still really good friends with, high school players and my sister, who I got to play with for a year.”
In fact, Cergol’s younger sister has followed in her footsteps, having recently committed to playing volleyball at the University of Bryant in Rhode Island.
Cergol has a lot of role models in her life, but she claims her parents—especially her mother—have been her biggest supporters for constantly pushing her.
“In seventh grade, my mom thought I should try out for the middle school volleyball team because all my other friends were doing other sports like basketball,” Cergol said. “I obviously wanted to play soccer but I thought I would try volleyball. The fact that she suggested trying out for volleyball literally changed my life.”
Cergol’s success on the court also stems from her sheer passion and enthusiasm for the sport.
“Just the feeling that comes when someone on your team gets a good kill or a great dig—an overarching feeling comes over me like ‘this is an amazing feeling’ and ‘I don’t want to stop living in this moment,’ Cergol said. “That’s how I feel during every single point. I can’t see myself not playing volleyball.”
With two more principle seasons of work for the Knights, Cergol started every match as a freshman last year under head coach Amber Dunn, and that streak has continued this year under new head coach Hunter Drews.
After Geneseo, Cergol, a communication major, hopes to pursue a career in the sports media and marketing field.u